By now you should know all there is to know about my diary and why I have decided to keep one. If you’re still out of the loop then I would avert your gaze to my first Blog post that appeared some weeks back here at InRetroSpectPodcast.com and that should give you all the information you need to fill in your knowledge gaps.
So here we are ‘some weeks’ later and more has been scrawled in between the diary pages. I am happy to say that I have moved on somewhat from the unexpected delights of ‘The Wheelman’ and am now willing to share my notes of one of my most recent entries, ‘Far Cry 3’.
Completed in the months of December and January, ‘Far Cry3’ was a pleasure to play and see through to completion Indeed the game was a surprising gift from my mother who having just discovered the wonders of my Amazon Wishlist had bought it for me unawares of the amounts of violence, horror and depravity that would soon envelope her son. Mum’s are awesome, and I for one am glad that she bit the bullet and showed Amazon the cold steel of her Credit Card. After the several hours I spent with ‘Far Cry 2’ a few years ago it was touch and go whether I would actually dedicate several hours of my life to another edition. However, I was wrong to be so a feared.
What follows are actual words from my actual diary about ‘Far Cry 3’….
“………A strong character led narrative helped to bring the open world together. Side quests were not prescriptive and exploration was well rewarded. The narrative device of ‘madness’ was also treated well and carried depth into the gameplay. Well worth experiencing as it made me question the role of the protagonist in games narrative and the nature of killing.”
Actual written words there from my diary about ‘Far Cry 3’.
As you can extrapolate from that it appears that I quite enjoyed the title. However, there was a moment in playing the game that I had my fill of madness fueled killing. Haplessly murdering hundreds of folk within the safe walls of the video game environment is something that unfortunately those of us who are over eighteen witness all too regularly. But it was only when playing ‘Far Cry 3’ that I was stricken by the immorality of it all and I wanted it to stop.
It wasn’t that I was bored by all the death and awe it’s just that it was far too graphic.Also, as a character (apart from the initial few hours of the game) I had no reason to carry on killing all of these people. This was a feeling that I think was intentional and was driven on by some of the excellent narrative devices employed in ‘Far Cry 3’. As Jason Brody you descend further and further down the rabbit hole of madness, something which is enhanced by the continuing quotes from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ that occupy the screen. Jason starts as a nervous wreck and ends a confident killer but as his personality drifts from a firm construction to a flimsy caravan his motives for the endless slaughter also evolves.
In reality I felt that, by the end of the title, Jason loses all motive and is just killing because he can and this is what unnerved me about the game. At one point I remember even saying out loud that ‘that is enough for now, I’ve got to stop’. But the game doesn’t allow you to. You have to carry on this murderous rampage and I continued to feel more disconnected by Jason’s cause.
Often, as gamers, we don’t think about the people we mow down because the title gives us reasons to do so, be this narrative or biologically based. The enemies are either very bad people or they are not people at all. But as ‘Far Cry 3’ started to bend these rules of what defines a ‘bad guy’ in a video game I increasingly felt uneasy about dispatching them in glorified ways. The fact I could no longer sympathise with Jason also affected my approach to the gameplay. I didn’t want to kill because it had slowly become apparent that in reality Jason had no real reason to be continuing his violent actions.
I really enjoyed my time with ‘Far Cry 3’, not only for its lush environments and vibrant characters but also for making me ask questions of why it is as gamers we are happy to blindly follow a protagonist even if we don’t essentially agree with their cause.